Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Power in numbers, says Barnaby

Senator Barnaby Joyce urged dairy farmers to use their numbers in addressing industry issues, at the Tongala crisis meeting.

February 19, 2013 4:12am

Senator Barnaby Joyce

‘‘When I look out here, I see people who have done more for their nation than what their nation has asked of you: you have scraped a living out of the earth, you have built a property up, you have built up our nation; our nation is made of Australian families on Australian farms,’’ Senator Barnaby Joyce told dairy farmers.

‘‘Our nation is not a nation where we will be swinging off the spanner of corporate farms.

‘‘It is unconscionable that someone can hold you, exploit you, by having excessive market power when you have none.’’

Senator Joyce criticised the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and said his party would cap irrigation buy-backs.

He warned of the political realities of getting change for agriculture.

‘‘You can have all the beautiful arguments in the world, but you must have the numbers, because numbers rule the day. You’ve got to have 76 out of 150 in the lower house or you haven’t have a hope ... there’s the reality,’’ he said.

He urged farmers to be strong in their resolve.

‘‘I think French farmers are great, they are great people because they stand up for what they believe in,’’ he said.

‘‘We have to make sure we stand up for what we believe in. We have to make sure we strive for agendas we can deliver an outcome on, simple ones like proper country of origin on labelling.’’

He said he had serious concerns about the extent of foreign ownership of farmland and water licences going overseas.

Senator Joyce urged dairy farmers to band together with other farm commodity groups to ensure they weren’t picked off by big interests.

He said he had fought for changes to the Competition and Consumer Act to get a fairer deal for farmers and small businesses.

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